Program Management

Acquisition Program Baseline (APB)

The Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) is developed by the Program Manager (PM) before the initiation of a program for all Acquisition Category (ACAT) programs and depicts the current condition of a program. The plan states the threshold and objective values for the cost, schedule, and performance requirements for a program. The performance requirements are listed as Key Performance Parameters (KPP) and Key System Attributes (KSA) and are linked to the program goals. These KPP’s and KSA’s are developed by the program sponsors (user) and are located in the Capabilities Design Document (CDD) or Capabilities Production Document (CPD) and also documented in the Technical Baseline. The Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) is the approval authority for the APB.

Definition: The Acquisition Program Baseline is an agreement between the Program Manager (PM) and the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) that documents the program cost, schedule, and performance baselines.

Purpose Acquisition Program Baseline (APB)

The purpose of the Acquisition Program Baseline is to allow the Program Manager (PM) to track program goals against a formal baseline. This tracking will alert the PM to any potential problems that might arise and to perform corrective actions to keep a program within its goals. An APB is required for each Increment and Block for a Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP) or Major Acquisition Information System (MAIS) program. Any deviations from an approved APB have to be documented in a Program Deviation Report (PDR).

Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) Content

The content of an APB includes:

Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) Template

Starting with a template when developing an acquisition program baseline offers numerous advantages. Templates provide a structured framework that incorporates best practices, established guidelines, and industry standards, ensuring that key elements such as scope definition, budget allocation, timeline milestones, and risk management are comprehensively addressed. Using the templates below will help in creating your APB.

Template: Acquisition Program Baseline

Template: DFAS Acquisition Program Baseline

Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) Requirements

A separate APB is required for each increment of an MDAP or MAIS program, and each sub-program of an MDAP. Increments can be used to plan concurrent or sequential efforts to deliver capability more quickly and in line with the technological maturity of each increment. (When an MDAP requires the delivery of two or more categories of end items that differ significantly in form and function, subprograms may be established.

The Program Sponsor and PM shall ensure content includes Sustainment KPP/KSAs parameters, measurement metrics, and all programmatic direction affecting life-cycle support strategic planning and execution.

  • The first APB is approved by the MDA prior to a program entering the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase or at program initiation, whichever occurs later.
  • It serves as the current baseline description until a revised APB is approved.
  • Incorporates the KPPs from the CDD.

Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) Reporting

Acquisition Program Baselines for Acquisition Category (ACAT) I and IA programs are created and reported in the Defense Acquisition Management Information Retrieval (DAMIR) system.

Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) Updates

The Acquisition Program Baseline is prepared at Milestone B and updated at each major milestone afterward and full-rate production decision (FRPD).

Acquisition Program Baseline (APB) Deviations

The following rules apply if any deviations to the program require an updated APB.

  • The PM will immediately notify the MDA when the PM becomes aware of an impending deviation from any parameter (cost, schedule, performance, etc.).
  • Within 30 business days of the occurrence of the deviation, the PM will submit a Program Deviation Report that informs the MDA of the reason for the deviation and planned actions.
  • Within 90 business days of the occurrence of the deviation:
    • The PM will bring the program back within APB parameters; or
    • The PM will submit information to the Overarching Integrated Product Team (OIPT) (for ACAT ID) or to an equivalent Component-level review team (for ACAT IB or IC programs) to inform a recommendation to the MDA on whether it is appropriate to approve a revision to an APB.
  • After considering the recommendation resulting from the OIPT or equivalent Component-level review, the MDA will decide whether it is appropriate to approve a revision to an APB.


  • The Program Manager is responsible for managing the trade space between program goals within the bounds of cost, schedule, and performance.
  • The APB is inputted into the Defense Acquisition Management Information Retrieval (DAMIR) System, a DoD initiative providing enterprise visibility to Acquisition program information.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 8/28/2023

Rank: G1

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